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Our Opinion: The value of herbs by the curb

Our Opinion: The value of herbs by the curb

October 11th, 2018 in Opinion

How many times have you gone to make a meal, only to realize that you have everything you need on your recipe list … except for the fresh herbs?

So after the frustration of driving to the store and plopping down a few bucks for something you intended to plant in the spring, you realize your time window to cook on a busy night has closed. So you reluctantly head to the drive-through, again.

What if we told you we knew of a secret garden, where you could drive up and pick fresh herbs any time day or night, almost without getting out of the car?

It’s true. But it’s not exactly a secret, especially if you read this newspaper.

As we recently reported, the Missouri River Regional Library has planted four three-tier planter boxes near the sidewalk outside the library near the corner of Adams and High streets. Root Cellar, a nearby business, grew the four herbs in the boxes: chives, mint, parsley and rosemary.

The project is a collaboration among Healthy Schools Healthy Communities, MRRL and Root Cellar. Missouri Department of Corrections’ inmates made the planter boxes.

We like the idea. It’s a collaborative effort that uses minimal public resources to encourage home cooking and, in turn, healthier eating.

Ashley Varner, Capital Region Medical Center’s Healthy Communities coordinator, came up with the idea from a similar program by Edible Main Street, which began in Norway, Maine, in 2015. That program has 16 planter boxes with everything from green leafy vegetables to peas and peppers.

Varner said one goal of the program is to inspire people to grow their own food. Weatherproof, informational cards hang from each planter at MRRL, telling about the products growing inside and how to go about picking them. The planters also include cards suggesting recipes people may try, such as mint pesto, roasted squash with parmesan and fresh herbs, or a simple herb butter.

We hope area residents take advantage of the program, so that — like the herbs — it continues to grow.

News Tribune